Prebble insists Packing Whiz is unbeatable in Champions Mile
Prebble insists his ride is best contender in Champions Mile, but bleeding remains a concern
Jockey Brett Prebble insists Packing Whiz is simply "the best horse in the race" in tomorrow's Champions Mile - on one proviso.
He and trainer Caspar Fownes hope his bleeding issues do not reappear, especially given the unseasonably cool weather.
The absence of Ambitious Dragon had already left a void in the HK$12 million Group One at Sha Tin, and the field yesterday fell to just nine with the withdrawal of John Moore's Admiration, after he suffered a severe quarter crack at trackwork.
That leaves Glorious Days as the horse to beat, but Prebble was adamant nothing can stop his horse if fully fit.
"I just feel that if he is healthy, he'll win, and that he is the best horse in the race," Prebble said. "He has the best turn of foot in town. The horse has issues, but if Caspar can keep him healthy and he brings his A game, I don't think there is anything that can go with him when he lets go."
Packing Whiz produced a sub-22-second final 400m when he blew rivals away last start in the Group Two Chairman's Trophy, his first run for Fownes.
The five-year-old's form or ability is not in question, but after the horse's last two runs for previous trainer John Moore, both poor performances, he was reported to have shown substantial blood in his trachea, a condition commonly thought to worsen in cooler weather.
"It's a concern when the temperature drops, but it looks like it will pick up coming into race day, which would be good," said Fownes, who has had notable success with two other so-called "bleeders", Lucky Nine and Thumbs Up. "With these sort of horses, you've got to be careful because once they've done it, they are always in danger of doing it again."
Prebble compared his ride to Bullish Luck, the horse that gave him the first of his two Champions Miles in 2006. "He can give them a start and have the race won within 100m when you ask him for it," Prebble said.
Fownes added: "He can make up four or five lengths in a matter of strides. It is incredible."
Bullish Luck won the Yasuda Kinen with Prebble after the 2006 Champions Mile, but Packing Whiz will be put away until next season at the request of owners, no matter the result.
Yesterday's rain was not a worry for Fownes, but was warmly welcomed by the owners of the David O'Meara-trained runner Penitent, who has three wins and four placings from 10 starts on ground rated soft or heavy.
"We hear that the track drains quickly here, but some more rain might slow the others down and maybe he will cope with it better than other horses," said Nick Bradley, the manager of a syndication company which sold shares in the seven-year-old to a dozen owners, of whom three have made the trip.
"The smallest share cost £1,000 [HK$12,000], and around £70 per month, to get involved - so they're having a nice adventure for the money," he said.